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ran to build first foreign plant in India

Bangladeshi beverage producer Pran
sees huge potential for its products in Northeast India's market, building a new plant in Tripura. Star
GraphicKowsher Jahan Khaled
Pran, one of Bangladesh's leading processed-food and beverage companies, is to build its first foreign
factory in India, taking advantage of the country's recent decision to lift its ban on Bangladeshi
investment.
The plant will be built in the north-eastern Indian state of Tripura. It will initially produce jelly and drinks
and is expected to come into operation by 2009 with an annual turnover of around Tk100 crore.
It will supply the markets of northeast India -- Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram
and Arunachal Pradesh -- known as 'Seven Sisters', said a senior official of Pran Exports Ltd.
Last year India lifted its ban on direct investment from Bangladesh and said it would welcome investment
from its neighbour. The move was seen as a precondition for Dhaka to consider the large-scale
investment plans of Indian companies such as Tata in Bangladesh.
The plant will initially produce jelly and drinks, which have already won popularity in those areas, said
Paramuddin Hossain, senior manager (Export) of Pran-RFL Group.
The company chose Tripura due to its closeness to Bangladesh. “We will be able to transport raw
materials for our products from Bangladesh to Tripura very easily due to the easy communications,” said
Paramuddin.
He said there is similarity in lifestyle, culture and economy between the people of Bangladesh and these
areas of India, adding that this is one of the main reasons to choose Tripura.
Negotiations have been going on between the parties concerned about acquiring land for the project.
India will allocate a 10-acre industrial plot for the purpose.
The Indian government has also assured Pran of banking, electricity and other infrastructure facilities.
Initially Pran will employ nearly 200 people, including Bangladeshi and Indian nationals.
Pran exports its agro-processed foods and drinks to nearly 70 countries, including USA, UK, Sweden,
Cyprus, Australia, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, South Korea, and some Middle East, East and West African
countries.
The news of the new plant was announced at an 'Export Sales Conference 2008' of Pran Exports Ltd held
yesterday in Dhaka. Deputy Managing Director of Pran-RFL Group Ahsan Khan Choudhury and other
senior officials were present at the conference.
ML Debnath, president of Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industries, also spoke at the conference
attended by hundreds of importers and dealers from different states of India and Nepal.
Ahsan expressed his concerns over different types of tariff and non-tariff barriers that the Indian
government is imposing on the export of Bangladeshi food products to Indian markets. He urged the
government to help the business community solve those problems through bilateral discussions.
Pran's exports to India could hit Tk 2.0b this yr
Group CEO dubs Delhi 'lucrative' market for Dhaka
FE Report

Improved communications, easy conversion of currencies, and simplification of visa and
customs procedures are a must to boost bilateral trade betweenBangladesh and India, the
head of MCCI said Saturday.

Bangladesh's trade imbalance with India touched to US$ 4.06 billion in the last financial
year ending June. The country imported goods from India of $4.6 billion while exported only
$512 million.

Amjad Khan Chowdhury, president of the MCCI (Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and
Industry), also stressed reduction of time for test lab certificate for Bangladeshi goods in
India. He said any product going to the Indian market undergoes laboratory tests in Kolkata
or Guwahati, which take much time.

"This (test) is done for every consignment and it often takes at least 20 days to get the
laboratory report. The products remain stranded at the port till the arrival of reports and the
delay affects the quality of products," he said. He also suggested that customs
documentation should be done electronically that would reduce much time.

His call came at a dialogue on 'Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South and
Central Asia: Strengthening India- Bangladesh Relations' in the city. Bangladesh Unnayan
Parishad (BUP) and Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) in
association with Dhaka School of Economics (DScE) and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation
(PKSF) organised the event. Principle Programme Adviser of CRRID Salman Haider chaired
the session.

To promote two-way trade between Dhaka and New Delhi, Mr Chowdhury, who is also the
chief executive officer of Pran Group, said, "We need to promote business with India. India
is a lucrative market for us".

He said that exports of the food and agro-processing conglomerate to the Indian market
would be doubled this year compared with the previous year. "We exported products to
India worth Tk 1.0 billion last year. This year we expect that it would be Tk 2.0 billion," he
said.

Professor Nehru SAIL and Chairman of CRRID Prof RS Ghuman said Bangladesh and Indian
economies are complementary to each other. "Joint investment is important that will benefit
the people in both countries," he said.

He said that there should be joint-study groups comprising scholars of the twocountries that
would help jack up trade and investment between the twocountries.

Special Secretary (PD) of the Ministry of External Affairs of India Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty
suggested issuing a five-year multiple business visas for businessmen of the two countries


Demand for Bangladeshi agro products in int’l market increasing rapidly
BSS, Dhaka
The demand for Bangladeshi agro-based products in the international market is increasing
day by day as the country‟s leading exporters witnessed a rapid growth in the sector in the
last couple of years.
“Despite global economic meltdown, we have exported agro- based products worth about
Taka 200 crore in the last fiscal year, which was Taka 60 crore higher than that of the
previous fiscal,” said Mizanur Rahman, Chief of Export of PRAN-RFL Group, the largest
food manufacturer and exporter of the country.
Against the backdrop of high demand of the agro-based products, he said, PRAN-RFL has
set a target of exporting products of Taka 300 crore in the current fiscal year.
He said the company is now exporting juice, drinks, mustard oil and muri (fried rice) to
different countries of Asia, Africa, Europe as well as America. Besides, agro-based products,
the demand for confectionery items and snacks are increasing gradually in those countries,
he said. Rahman said the PRAN-RFL Group, which got prestigious Export Trophy for the
last six consecutive years, has stuck a deal recently with an Angolan company to export
PRAN products of US Dollar 3.5 million to the African country.
“Due to the chronological developments of the quality products as well as better marketing
and distribution strategies, PRAN products have created a huge hype among the African
countries,” he said.
Rahman said their company has taken up initiatives for expanding the market by exporting
the PRAN products to more countries where there are huge demands for Bangladeshi food
products.
“We would soon start exporting PRAN products to Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Brunei,
Mauritius, Congo, the Maldives, Sudan, Jordan, Algeria, Cambodia and Iraq,” he said,
mentioning that PRAN products are now being exported to about 75 countries. Rahman said
India is the single largest country which alone imports 27 percent PRAN products. Besides
India, 35 percent PRAN products go to the Middle East, 30 percent to Africa and the rest go
to the ASEAN, European and North American countries, he added. He said PRAN-RFL
Group has recently opened a separate company in Dubai named „PRAN Foods Ltd‟ for
expansion of their business in the Middle East. The per day sales of the company have stood
at US Dollar 35,000, he said.
Rahman said nearly 130 Bangladeshi officials of PRAN-RFL Group have been working in
various countries of the world to look after and expand business in those countries. He said
international trademark registration of PRAN has been done recently which would help
widen the market fast. He, however, said the market growth of Bangladeshi products is
being hindered in the African countries due to non-existence of Bangladeshi missions. He
said stopping issuance of new visas for Bangladeshis by Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Middle
Eastern countries is also creating barrier to widening the market.
“We are also facing problems in sending our manpower to India as the country has taken
strict measures in issuance of visa,” Rahman said.
He underscored the need for signing of free trade agreements with the African countries in
the interest of market expansion of Bangladeshi products.